Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Inside Google - An introduction !!!

Ever googled "google" ?? I have not :D Trust me, the final semester at college (at least in our part of the world) leaves you with so much of time that you do all crazy stuff . With no work , an awesome cricket match and a lot of time I did just that and  actually discovered quite a lot.

Basics :

Do you know where the term "GOOGLE" came from ?? Its a misspelling of the word "googol" meaning the number 1 followed by hundred zeroes. It symbolises the fact that  Google wanted to provide large quantities of information for people. Sergey Brin and Larry Page were the founders. The mission  was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful", the commpany's unofficial slogan is "Don't be evil". Larry himself defines an idle search engine as one that would "understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want". A 10-point philosophy  defines google and the founders say-
We first wrote these “10 things” several years ago. From time to time we revisit this list to see if it still holds true. We hope it does–and you can hold us to that.

How The Google Search Operates :

Search is how Google began, and it’s still the heart of it. Here is how the google search operates:

  1. When you type your query and hit "enter" , you dont search the entire web but the an index of it (yes, very similar to the index at the back of a text). This is the google's index for the web, not to mention, it is consistently updated.

  2. The indices are searched with help of spiders . The spider runs through millions of  pages (technically called "crawling")  to find ones that  contain the keywords contained in the query you typed.

  3. Next , it follow the link on those pages and fetches the pages they point to. You have more pages.

  4. step (3) iterates until  until a big (Its really big !!!)  chunk of the web has been traversed.

  5. The final question -  How does Google then decide which of them are relevant ?? Based on:

    • How many times does the page contain the keywords in the query ?

    • Do the words appear in the title or in URL?

    • does the page include synonyms of the keywords ?

    • Is this page from a quality website ? ,

    • the popularity of the page,

    • the position and size of the search terms within the page

    •  and the proximity of the search terms to one another on the page

    • And much more !!!

  6. The algorithm then combines all the results to compute the score obtained by each page (the  pagerank) and sends you back your search results.

Imagine all this happening within half a second between you typing your query and seeing the result on the Google home page !!! Thats Goolge for you :) If you want to know more , turn to the Google-guide or  see   how stuff works.

The Road Ahead:

The big G believes that search can always get better and faster at helping you find what you want, when you want it, where you want it. And that led to the evolution of "apps" (the applications-gmail, googleDocs, Calender etc).

Google-images: As google got better, people expected more. In due course of time, Google realized that  people want nothing but the best possible information available - be it a picture,a book or for that matter ,information in any form , not just web pages. The result was Google-images.

 Google-news: Lets take an example.When 9/11 happened , people searched google for "Attack at WTC".Unfortunately,  the results had nothing relevant with the  events happened . The reason- the google index was crawled one month ago and at that time there so no such info on web. Google news emerged as a result of this sort of needs of the users.

Universal Search: Gradually, web became  richer with more images,more videos , and all sorts of contents of different kinds. Now users expected google to find anything that existed on web. They didn’t care if it was text or webpage or news . They wanted all in one place and google came up with the Universal search.

You can find all the Google products here. To see what you have been doing at google recently and how google has stored all of them you may also like to visit the dashboard. You can manage (or edit) all your info here too.  Google has always been looking at innovation, always wanting to know what the users want. To get the latest features, tips and tricks from Google , keep connected to this.

What Recently???

Recently, Google has been at the receiving end of a lot of controversies - regarding

  1. its personalised search and

  2. new privacy policy.

I have  already covered the first , to an extent, in one my previous posts.  Regarding the second , If the reports are to be believed , Google is going to combine its 70 different product-specific privacy policies and terms of service into one super-duper privacy policy on March 1, 2012 . It will be interesting to see what the reactions of users are !! And  I will try to cover them in my next post !! Stay connected.

Any corrections are welcome !!

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